International news brief: Sri Lanka introduces bill to clip presidential powers
| Updated: Wednesday, August 10, 2022, 23:08 [IST]
Colombo, Aug 10: A Sri Lankan government minister on Wednesday submitted to Parliament a constitutional amendment bill that would clip the powers of the president, a key demand of protesters calling for political reforms and solutions to the country's worst economic crisis.
Justice Minister Wijayadasa Rajapakshe presented the bill, which would transfer some presidential powers - including those to appoint independent election commission members, police and public service officials, and bribery and corruption investigators - into the hands of a constitutional council comprising lawmakers and respected non-political persons.
China successfully completed high-intensity military drills around Taiwan
China on Wednesday announced that it has successfully completed its high-voltage 10-day-long military drills around Taiwan in protest against the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taipei.
The People's Liberation Army's (PLA) Eastern Theatre Command said the joint military operations around the Taiwan island have been completed successfully, the state-run Global Times newspaper tweeted.
Trump says he took the Fifth in NY civil investigation
Donald Trump invoked the Fifth Amendment and wouldn't answer questions under oath in the New York attorney general's long-running civil investigation into his business dealings, the former president said in a statement Wednesday. Trump arrived at state Attorney General Letitia James' offices in a motorcade shortly before 9 am, before announcing more than an hour later that he "declined to answer the questions under the rights and privileges afforded to every citizen under the United States Constitution." "I once asked, If you're innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?' Now I know the answer to that question," the statement said.
Halted shipments of Russian oil resume to Slovakia
Oil shipments from Russia through a critical pipeline to several European countries resumed after a problem over payments for transit was resolved, Slovakia's Economy Minister Richard Sulik said on Wednesday. "Oil is already on Slovakia territory," Sulik said on Facebook. He gave no further details. But no oil has reached the neighbouring Czech Republic yet, the country's Mero pipeline operator said, and Hungary also was still to receive deliveries by Wednesday evening. Russian state pipeline operator Transneft said Tuesday it halted shipments through the southern branch of the Druzhba, or Friendship, pipeline, which runs through Ukraine to the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.
Biden signs ''burn pits'' help for vets, a personal win, too
President Joe Biden, whose elder son Beau died of cancer years after deploying to Iraq, signed legislation on Wednesday expanding federal health care services for millions of veterans who served at military bases where toxic smoke billowed from huge "burn pits." "We owe you," Biden said. "You're the backbone. You're the steel. You're the sinew. You're the very fiber that makes this country what it is." The law, which Biden described as long overdue, caps a years-long battle to ensure treatment for chronic illnesses that veterans have blamed on burn pits, which were used to dispose of chemicals, tires, plastics, medical equipment and human waste on military bases.